By Joseph Forster
Time for a quick battle report! This battle pitted my North American English Militia against Bryan’s French Caribbean Militia in the Raid scenario.
I played a 200 point North American English Militia force led by Samuel Mosely. The force ability for the North American English Militia faction is getting an errata and I played with the new version. This new and improved faction ability really reinforces your strength of solid Resolve on your units. The new ability reads: “Once per turn, a single English unit in this Force may re-roll a Fatigue or Rally test without spending a Fortune Point.” Their ability as given in No Peace Beyond the Line lets them re-all all failed Fatigue and Rally dice on the first turn. Stronger on the first turn, but the first turn often doesn’t have a lot of action and then your faction feels sort of plain. I enjoy this new version!
I chose the Ranging Party force option so I could use Indian Fighters as Core Units. Mosely also let me take Kapers as Core Units with his Unorthodox Force rule.
- 8 Indian Fighters with Thrown Weapons and Samuel Mosely attached as commander
- 7 Freebooters with a Grizzled Veteran character upgrade
- 8 English Militia with an Officer character upgrade
- 6 English Militia
- 7 Kapers
Samuel Mosely is an interesting commander. Two Command Points and 12″ Command Range is pretty standard but his combo of Ruthless Commander and Lead by Example is pretty great, especially considering the good English Resolve and the improved faction ability! I figured Ruthless would trigger more often than not! At 27 points, he’s a bit expensive, especially considering I could get Benjamin Church for 5 more points.
Bryan used the French Caribbean Militia. Their faction ability lets them perform a free Move Action at the end of an activation, once per turn.
Bryan’s French force was simple and nasty:
- 9 Trained Milices de Caraibes with Julien Lambert
- 8 Trained Milices de Caraibes
- 8 Flibustiers
- 7 Flibustiers
That’s a lot of models with 6 Shoot! And lots of bayonets and brace of pistols to break my any potential charges.
My list had 37 models and Bryans had 33 giving us Strike Points at 9 and 8 models, respectively.
Raid forces the Attacker to invade the Defender’s board quadrant and gain control of at least one of two stationary objectives in their deployment zone. I find this scenario hard as the Attacker but the game objective is clear! Attack!
We rolled for the Attacker and I rolled high. Bryan chose the back left quadrant of the board (seen from my perspective) and we both deployed a cart as an objective (the two small cards, not the larger wagon).
Bryan deployed one unit in each building and one behind the large wagon. It appeared the French were going to hunker down and shoot it out!
I had the option of deploying within 6″ of two edges of the board, but I deployed all my units clustered around Mosely on the Left side of the long side of the board.
With Bryan’s French concealed in hard cover, and with his shoot skill being slightly higher than mine overall, I knew I needed to push forward and put pressure on a flank fast and overwhelm one unit at a time. The English Militia with the Officer lead the charge!
Inexperienced Militia with an officer and still move 8″ and shoot on a Diamond! Not too shabby. My opening volley killed a French Militia model and this volley set the trend for the game. My volley’s rarely missed entirely, and no matter if it was one or three hits, Bryan would invariably fail one Shoot Save and lose a model!
The Flibustiers behind the wagon jumped up to fire a volley and they knocked down several militiamen, but the English Resolve held!
My Kapers reinforced the Militia on my Right while the main body of my force moved up 4″ and took some shots at the Flibustiers and the French in the house.
I pushed hard on both flanks on turn 2, focusing my Militia and Indian Fighters on the closest house with the Milice de Caraibes inside.
The Kapers moved forward, putting some pressure on the French center. One volley. One hit. One kill.
The French Militia, seeing their enemies closing in but with empty muskets, fixed bayonets and charged! A bayonet charge on turn 2!
The French Militia are not known for the melee ability and with all the French Fortune already spent on Shoot Save re-rolls, my English withstood the charge, with minimal loss of life. My supporting Militia and Freebooters were able to repulse the French aggression, but not before the Julien Lambert commanded them to stab me a few more times with the bayonets.
My command unit took 2 casualties and fell back with 3 Fatigue. Come on, Mosely!
I rallied my command unit and turned my attention to the Flibusters behind the wagon, knocking out one at a time.
The second unit of Flibustiers which was deployed in the 3rd house furthest from my force, started moving towards the main fighting. The attractive 4Ground crates provided great cover for the entire unit!
My Kapers kept up their fire, but used half shots some of the time to keep something back for a defensive fire. Can’t be too careful around blobs of Flibustiers. They cannot be trusted.
The Kapers also claimed control of the forward objective, preventing me from taking a Strike Point at the end of round 3.
By turn 4, I was down a unit of Militia.
I continued to push forward slowly and fire, utilizing my two command points and Officer to balance reloads.
With my free re-rolls on a Resolve/Rally action every turn, combined with my Grizzled Veteran, my Fatigue didn’t really build up. That faction re-roll ability is fun! You get to choose when to do it every turn! Keeps the English interesting.
Bryan’s French consolidated in and around the central house, protecting the second objective.
I drew the Commander’s View event in my fifth hand which gave me the opportunity to move my commander to a different unit. My Indian Fighters were still my strongest unit, so I kept things as they were.
At this point in the game, French casualties were higher than English and my troops were closing in. The French had to break the English advance or be picked off by my mediocre, but very consistent musketry.
The Flibustiers charged!
My poor Kapers took a beating, losing 3 of their 5 remaining models. But they didn’t run!
Mosely commanded them to Fight back and they did, scoring 2 hits out of two models and even triggering the perpetually disappointing Brawlers Special Rule. The second die disappointed as expected…
Mosely and the Freebooters pushed forward!
The tattered English Militia under the Officer’s ran across the table and drove off the Flibusters who had assaulted the Kapers.
At this point it started to look bad for the French. With one of their three units shaken and in the open, and the other two units dealing with significant Fatigue problems, there was a diminishing chance of driving me off that central objective.
And then Mosely’s Freebooters let off a volley that decided the game. At slightly under 12″ from the house the French were using as cover, they fired using Mosely’s Ruthless Command Point, bringing their target shoot number down to 7. Of the 7 models, 6 scored hits!
This finished off the unit of Flibustiers in the house and reduced the final fighting unit of Milice de Caraibes to 5 men. The French morale was broken and the Monsieur Lambert ran out his fluffy white handkerchief and the game was over.
English casualties stood at 18, nearly exactly half of my force.
French casualties numbered 23, almost three quarter of the original force.
Post Game Thoughts
- I won a game of Raid as the Attacker! I’m not sure I’ve ever done that before. What went into this win?
- Luck. The French Saves were unimpressive at best. With solid Heavy Cover for most of the game, the French dice were pretty punishing. Every shot it seemed like one of them died.
- French deployment. With fewer smaller units and being forced to potentially defend from two sides, the French were more spread out. I was able to deploy two units after all the French were on the board and that gave me a good tactical advantage. One 40 point French unit basically missed the first 2 turns of the game.
- English Resolve. That faction-wide Resolve of 5 combined with the re-roll possibility every turn made them hard to break. My Command Unit had a moment of embarrassment early in the game, but beyond that, they were pretty courageous. The Tough Special Rule on both my Freebooters (Grizzled Veteran) and the Indian Fighters helped as well.
- French Fortune. Bryan spent all his Fortune in the first two turns, trying to get an early advantage. Later in the game, he rolled at least 2 large volleys of 8 or 9 dice that rolled no hits. With no Fortune to mitigate this bad luck, I had a couple turns were I basically had no casualties because of bad French luck.
- I do love that new version of the English Militia. I think I used that re-roll every turn. I imagine it’s frustrating to play against, but it’s sure fun watching those bad Resolve rolls disappear!
- While the English special ability was very helpful to my assault tactic, the French ability to perform a free Move at the end of an activation every turn did not prove as helpful to the French defensive tactic. With the French settled in buildings, they didn’t need to move a lot, and after a couple turns of not using the ability, I think Bryan forgot to use a couple times when it might have been useful later in the battle.
- I really like the Indian Fighters. At the Trained level for 5 points, they cost as much as the French Milice de Caraibes. The French have buccaneer guns, pistols and bayonets so they have way more weapons than the Indian Fighters, but the Indian Fighters have way better Fight stats and that Tough Special Rule is so good.
- I rarely use the Officer character, but I was glad I did. Sometimes I just upgrade Militia to Trained instead of bothering with an Officer but in this case, his flexibility proved useful. And the Command Point can give Militia an extra action on every suite of Activation Care while upgrading the unit to Trained only gives them an extra action on a Heart or Club.
- My little unit of Kapers did OK but on further reflection, I should have just used more Indian Fighters. They have the same stats for the same cost, but the Indian Fighters’ Special Rules of Elusive, Scouts and Tough are massively better on land than the Kapers’ Artillery Crew, Experts Sailors and Brawlers. Bad choice on my part to bring Kapers when Indian Fighters cost the same! I just felt compelled to utilize my fancy Unorthodox Force rule!
- I still love the Fortune part of this game. Lady Luck can be a cruel mistress and it’s so nice to have a chance to mitigate that poor luck in any circumstance. Sometimes she’s still cruel, but at least you have a chance to do better. Choosing when to spend those three coins is such an entertaining part of the game. Sometimes you make the decision and it doesn’t help at all. Or it makes things worse. And sometimes you spend the coin and it turns your game around! That’s such a fun moment. Logically, it makes sense to spend those Fortune early to gain an upper hand as soon as possible. If you can get an early advantage in actions, that can compound over the course of a game and win you the game. But if you spend them early and the game later comes down to a crucial roll, you know it’s going to be a terrible roll and you’ll have no way to give yourself a second chance!
- I used a new set of houses from 4Ground Publishing and I was happy with them. The three houses we had on the board are a “budget set” that are simple structures without any bells or whistles. At $37 for 3 buildings, it is a good deal. They look great but are slightly less functional. 4Ground buildings usually have a functional doors, and accessible floors with removable roofs and second stories. These buildings don’t have floors or removable parts, but for only $12 each, they make a board look good and they are still functional. We just had to lift the entire building up instead of removing a roof. You can find that set here on the 4Ground website. Come to think of it, there was almost more 4Ground product on that board than Firelock! The houses, the cards, the barrels and the crates were all 4Ground. They make great stuff!
- I’ve been doing a lot of playtesting for RTB recently and it felt good to just play! I didn’t have to take notes or look stuff up! It’s a great game and it was nice relax and play a solid game with a buddy. And it’s always nice when you see the OVERPOWERED FRENCH lose a game.
- Thanks to my friend Bryan for playing a good game. Sorry about those dice…
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the Battle Report! Go play some English Militia with that altered faction rule. It’s a lot of fun!